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Whistleblower Manning wants to live as a woman, according to his lawyer.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy Thu, Aug 22
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  • 09:12
    Whether the Syrian regime's suspected gas attack on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus constitutes a turning point in Syria's civil war is unclear at this stage. The information coming of Syria is difficult to verify. Rebels say up to 1,400 people were killed in the attack.

    There have been more than 120 videos uploaded to the internet, depicting men, women and children sitting or lying on watery floors in some kind of respiratory distress. Other videos show make-shift morgues with dozens of corpses clad in white shrouds. It's truly horrific. The regime denies the use of chemical weapons but admits launching a major offensive in rebel-held areas.
  • 09:17
  • 09:27
    The suspected chemical agent used in the Syrian attack is sarin gas which would be traceable for at least a few days, even in Syria's hot weather, which makes the timing of the attack seem pretty strange, given the presence of UN inspectors in Damascus. However, it also impossible to think these massacre scenes are being stage-managed.

    By way of a late introduction, I'm Eoin Burke-Kennedy with today's Daily Wire.
  • 09:32
    Syrian children, affected by what activists say was a gas attack, breathe through oxygen masks
    Syrian children, affected by what activists say was a gas attack, breathe through oxygen masks
  • 09:36
  • 09:37
  • 09:51
    On a lighter note, a musical note to be precise, Google is celebrating the 151st anniversary of the birth of French composer Claude Debussy with an animated doodle set to his best-known piece, Clair de lune. What will those multi-billion dollar twins think of next?
  • 09:55
    Michaella McCollum Connolly (20) from Dungannon, Co Tyrone could face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years if convicted of illegal drugs trafficking in Peru. She along with her travelling companion, Melissa Reid (20) from Glasgow, were refused bail today after being formally charged with drug trafficking last night.

    Both women were moved from the courthouse to another in central Lima, where they will be held for a day or two until they are moved to one of the women’s prisons - most likely Santa Monica in the south east of the city.
  • 09:57
  • 10:03
    There is a growing clamour for international action to be taken in Syria if it turns out chemical weapons have been used. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said earlier the international community would need to respond with force if allegations proved true. Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu went further, saying "all red lines" had been crossed in Syria. Russia sticking to the line that the attack looks like "provocation" to discredit regime.
  • 10:30
    It's a rags to riches tale if ever I heard one. He was born in Africa but had an unfortunate start to life as his parents were killed, shot by raiders. As a young orphan, he was acquired by a Portuguese circus before becoming seriously ill. He was then abandoned in Lisbon before being moved to Stuttgart to live in a nursery of other orphans. In 1998, Gugas the gorilla finally moved to Belfast where he's been ever since. This month, he became a dad.

    Belfast Zoo keepers today announced the arrival of the first Western lowland gorilla to be born at the zoo in 16 years. The latest arrival is a male and was born to mother, Kwanza, and father, Gugas, earlier this month.

    Zoo curator, Julie Mansell, said: “Gugas was born in the wild and he is therefore genetically very important to the European breeding programme as he is not represented in the zoo population.   Because Gugas is so important, last year we decided to test his fertility.   The results were less than promising and it was suspected that Gugas would never father any infants.   You can therefore imagine the entire teams’ delight when we discovered that Kwanza was pregnant with her little miracle.” (see pic)

  • 10:37
    Mother, Kwanza, with her baby gorilla at Belfast Zoo
    Mother, Kwanza, with her baby gorilla at Belfast Zoo
  • 10:51
  • 11:03
    American writer and wit Dorothy Parker would have been 120 today. Yes, yes I know she's over-quoted. Nonetheless, my personal favourite - "If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised."
  • 11:18
  • 11:39
    Separated at birth? Is our new financial regulator, Cyril Roux, related to French chef Michel Roux? The Central Bank doesn't seem to know. Surely, it must have come up in the interview?
    Separated at birth? Is our new financial regulator, Cyril Roux, related to French chef Michel Roux? The Central Bank doesn't seem to know. Surely, it must have come up in the interview?
  • 11:56
    Storming up our most-read charts is Olivia Kelly's story about Dublin's Molly Malone statue who may been forced to shift her barrow elsewhere to make way for Luas works. Read more.
  • 12:14
    What constitutes a badly-behaved bear? Apparently, the Swiss and the Italians can't agree on what distinguishes post-hibernation crankiness from downright unruliness. Read more
  • 12:43
    When I were a lad, the death toll from Ireland's civil war was estimated to be 5,000-10,000. Ten years ago, a prominent historian suggested it was probably more in the region of up to 5,000. However, I'm told the current expert on the matter, a Trinity academic, believes the actual total may be only around 900.

    While Ireland's civil war precipitated a series of brutal executions and murders that would scar the political landscape for years to come, it must rank as one of the least bloodiest and most short-lived when compared with similar civil conflicts elsewhere. The death toll in Syria's current conflict is already thought to have eclipsed 100,000, for instance.

    Death tolls from other civil wars:

    7,500,000 – Chinese Civil War (1927–1949)
    1,000,000-3,000,000 - Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970)
    750,000 – American Civil War (1861–1865)
    500,000–1,000,000 – Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)

    This random musing was sparked by the unveiling of a memorial to Michael Collins to mark the 91st anniversary of his killing on August 22nd, 1922. The memorial is situated at the location where an iconic image of the General walking through Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin with a young piper, Alphonsus Culloten, was taken. (see above)
  • 12:45
    Michael Collins pictured on August 7th, 1922, in Cathal Brugha Barracks. Photograph: Irish Defence Forces Military Archives
    Michael Collins pictured on August 7th, 1922, in Cathal Brugha Barracks. Photograph: Irish Defence Forces Military Archives
  • 13:01
    The US soldier at the centre of the leaking of classified US document, Bradley Manning, has issued a rather curious statement, inisting he is now female and wants to live as a woman named Chelsea. A statement from Manning was read on NBC News' "Today" program. Manning (25) was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison yesterday for turning over classified files to WikiLeaks in the biggest breach of secret data in the nation's history. His lawyer, David Coombs, also told NBC said he expects Manning to get pardoned.
  • 13:03
  • 13:29
  • 14:38
    Time to feign disgust at your fellow citizens.  Irish people are spending more money on alcohol despite the calamitous decline in household income. Figures from the CSO showed about €6.36 billion was spent on alcohol last year, up 1.2 per cent on 2011. When will those people in the CSO stop releasing awkward stats that show us as we really are? Read full story
  • 14:47
  • 15:18
    Apparently, US actor Tom Hanks watched last Sunday's Hawk Eye drama at Croker, albeit from the transit lounge in Shannon Airport. The Hollywood star was on a stop-over at the airport with his wife and children during the All-Ireland minor decider between Galway and Limerick. Read on.
  • 15:34
  • 15:54
  • 16:06
    Ireland's household debt crisis still far from over, reads the headline on a piece in the Wall Street Journal. Here's the link.
  • 16:11
    US screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin reads the New York Times and LA Times, isn't on Facebook and doesn't tweet, according to a piece on the Atlantic Wire.
  • 16:13
  • 16:13
  • 16:27
    The latest ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) figures make for grim reading, with all daily and Sunday newspapers in Ireland losing ground. The Irish Times had an average daily circulation of 84,201 for the first six months of this year, 9 per cent below the 92,565 recorded for the first six months of last year. The Irish Independent’s average daily circulation was 121,120 for the six months, down 4,866 or 3.9 per cent on the previous year. On the upside, The Irish Times ePaper recorded a daily sale of 2,747 between January and June of this year, up 20 per cent annually. Read full story.
  • 16:36
  • 16:45
    French striker Nicolas Anelka has walked out on training and told staff at West Bromwich Albion he has retired from football, it has been reported. The club has confirmed he will not play against Everton this weekend and has been given “compassionate leave”, but denied he has quit the club and game. Read full piece.
  • 17:17
  • 17:35
    Wolves howl to maintain social contacts, not because of stress, according to new research, in contrast to journalists who most definitely howl when stressed.

    OK so I made the last bit up. In truth, journalists make a sort of low gurgling sound when stressed akin to a petrol car that's been mistakenly filled with diesel.

    Anyway, scientists at Austria’s Wolf Science Centre had wondered about the reaction of their animals (wolves, in this case) when one is taken for a walk. Typically, handlers took individual wolves out on a leash for long walks, one at a time. Whenever this happened, the pack-mates left behind always howled.
  • 17:39
    Ok, I'm afraid that's all from me, folks. We'll be back same time tomorrow.